The Witness Tree Project was a RISD course designed as a collaborative study between RISD’s Furniture department, the History/Social Science department, and the Hampton National Historic Site in Towson, Maryland, the most significant, northern plantation of the 1800’s. We first studied the culture and history of the Hampton Estate, and then designed and built furniture from the wood of an 200 year-old fallen Pecan tree from the site. After visiting the Hampton National Historic site, I began to think about the family. It was mentioned how they had snow ball fights through the great hall, but I wanted to know more about their entertainment. I started to research games of the period, in particular, the games’ relationship to the children and the culture of the time period. The design of the box holding the game pieces is a very simple, finger-jointed box with a sliding lid and separate compartments for each game. I chose a piece of wood of less refined sap and hard wood with knots, chips and great black marks that show in the integrity of the wood. This wood was chosen because it represented the scraps of wood that would have been left over from the more refined pieces of furniture for the adults.


Degree: Rhode Island School of Design


Year: 2009


Pecon and Charry Wood

Tools/Skills Used

Furniture Design



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